How Much Does it Cost – or How Much is it Worth? Market Your Value, Instead!

About a week ago I dropped my iPhone. From about four feet up. Straight on to the concrete sidewalk. I had a “Schrodinger’s Cat” moment. Please don’t be broken, please don’t be broken…

Well, it was. Smashed. In a very pretty spiderweb pattern, but smashed, nonetheless. First thought, “Crud!” Second thought, “How much money did I just cost myself?” And then, “Am I going to have to buy a new phone, or are there people who fix these things?” Yeah, you probably already knew there are lots of places that fix them, but this was my first phone-smash.

Somewhere in the Googling, phone-calling, fingertip-slicing days between smash and fix, I did have to wonder – what is it worth to me to get this fixed? Leaving it as it was was not an option – little pieces of glass were starting to fall out and I knew I was leaving it open to water damage. Not to mention the finger-slicing hazard. But, should I fix this phone (a hand-me-down iPhone4 – I’m cheap) or get a new one. Well, I …

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New tool for content curation, content ideas, competitor research and finding influencers - Buzzsumo!

Find Content to Share, Topics to Write About and Competitor Insights on Buzzsumo

If you ever want to know what is being shared, where, and by whom, check out Buzzsumo! I just happened upon it today and I’m excited to share with you how I think it can change your (content marketing) life.

Content Curation – Find the Content People Share

Do you share content that others have written? Often called content creation, this is a great way to make your social profiles a “go-to” resource for people seeking useful information, helpful tips and provocative articles. Sharing other people’s content can also lead to valuable networking opportunities and relationships with influencers who can then share your content.

There are many great tools that help you find good stuff to share, but what if you want to take it a step further and share content to specific networks that has already proven to be successful there? Try Buzzsumo! Just type in a topic that is related to your brand and find out what has been most popular (and …

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What marketers don't know about tracking cookies, but should.

Tracking Cookies: What Most Marketers Don’t Know, But Should

This post originally appeared on Inbound Insiders, a new section on the Inbound Hub blog.

Mmmm, chocolate chip! Oatmeal Raisin! Oreos (more addictive than cocaine, apparently)! Yes, many of us have a weakness for cookies – but those aren’t the ones I’m talking about.

What I’m referring to are tiny files stored on our computers when we visit certain websites and provide information (such as a name, username or email address) in a form.

How Do Cookies Work?

When a web server reads the cookies it previously placed on your computer, it can deliver a page tailored specifically to you or report information about you and your browsing habits back to the site owner.

Ever made a return visit to a website and been greeted by name? That’s because on your first visit, a cookie was installed. When you came back, the website server read your cookie and recognized you.

How Might a Marketer Use Cookies?

Since cookies can also be considered food, let’s go with a tasty analogy to help you understand why cookies are so important for …

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How to choose a domain name for your website

How to Choose the Right Domain Name and Extension for Your Website

This post originally appeared on Inbound Insiders, a new section on the Inbound Hub blog.

Well, you’ve done your market research (who knew there was such demand for a kielbasa manufacturer in Cleveland?), chosen your business name (“Greg’s Kielbasa” — after your grandfather!), and perfected your product anddelivery — Yum!

Now you’re planning a website that’ll have your potential customers’ mouths watering and distributors lining up around the corner. But there’s one step that can turn even the most confident of business owners into a waffling, indecisive pool of jelly: choosing the perfect domain name and extension.

There are plenty of different aspects to consider before selecting just any old name. So how do you ensure your website is represented by the best possible domain name and extension? First, a short lesson on how they came to be.

Domain Names & Extensions: A Brief History

Before 1984, when University of Wisconsin technicians developed a name server, there were no domain names, only numbers like to designate a website address. Imagine that on your business card!

Suddenly in 1985, domain names using the …

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How to make the most of your content offers

How to Make the Most of Your Ebook or Whitepaper – A Step By Step Guide

Creating downloadable Ebooks, whitepapers, templates, check lists, or other content offer with information so valuable that people would pay for it is a pillar of effective online marketing or “inbound” marketing. When you create remarkable and useful content, you’re able to build and segment your email lists for more effective marketing and lead follow-up.

But just how do you get from a content offer to a useful email list and lead nurturing process? And how do you get people to sign up for your offer?  This process can be overwhelming, but when you break it down step-by-step, nothing gets left out and your content can be a big success! So, let’s get started. You can also download a very detailed checklist here.

Promoting An Ebook or Whitepaper with Marketing Automation

You can promote your content with a combination of programs for landing pages, email and nuturing – and we’ll try to give you affordable options, but we prefer to use HubSpot. Not sure it’s worth the investment? Check out this …

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Why we will not turn off comments on our blog - a response to Copyblogger

Why We Will Not Turn Off Comments On Our Blog – A Response to Copyblogger

Yesterday, I was surprised to read that one of my favorite sites for online marketing tips and ideas, Copyblogger, is no longer going to allow comments on their blog. Their reasons were understandable, and maybe when my blog gets to the size of theirs, I’ll consider doing the same, but I doubt it. Here’s why I still welcome your comments on my blog.

We Want to Comment Right Here, Right Now

One argument Copyblogger makes is that comments really belong on social media. I get that. However, when I read a great blog post, I may have a question, compliment or something to add to the article. Right now. Ask me to go find you on Twitter or Facebook to comment, and I will get distracted by a hundred other things on the way – I promise. More than that, now I have to either find your update about the blog post and respond to that, or put my comment in context.

Assuming that your content is so fantastic that I’ll put forth that much effort is …

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Are you marketing with empathy - or contempt?

Are You Marketing with Empathy or with Contempt?

Yesterday I got a new lead from my website. As is my habit, I checked out the “What’s your biggest marketing challenge?” field first. He’d answered, “leads.” Great! We love it when a company puts a high value on leads – generating and nurturing them is our strong suit. Then I looked at his website and read a couple of blog posts. It became immediately apparent why he was having a struggle with leads – and why I don’t think I can help.

Here’s To All the “Idiots” “Morons” and “Dumb Souls” Out There

Yes, the two blog posts I read on his site, before leaving in disgust, used those exact phrases to describe customers, potential customers, and readers of his blog. Wow, if that’s what you think of me, let me become a lead right now so you can help me stop being such a moron!! Sorry, a little sarcasm got out there. Gotta watch that.

True, he did not call out any customer by name, but he gave more than enough details so …

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Content Marketing – Demystified

The internet may have made publishing content easy and affordable, but your prospects’ expectations have made it a necessity!  Despite warnings about impending “Content Shock,” people’s appetite for truly useful content has not diminished. If you are not giving them what they want, they will find someone who is. Then they’ll buy from them.

Last night, our little Wilmington Social Media Club was honored to have Melissa Pressley, Content Marketing Manager at the Wilmington Business Journal and Wilma magazine visit us and present, “You are a Publisher – So Start Acting Like One!”

If you’ve never been to a Social Media Club Meetup, put it on your calendar. As a co-organizer, I can tell you we’re not out to sell anything or promote any business. We’re here to help and because this stuff really gets us fired up! This meetup was packed – standing-room only.  So, what brought these business owners out on a Thursday night? The promise of an explanation of content marketing!

Of course, the practice of publishing …

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How to Write a Blog Post in an Hour or Less – Six Quick Tips

Impossible, you say? It may feel that way, especially if you tend to freeze under pressure. But, I am here, as a compulsive over-writer, to tell you that it can and SHOULD be done – at least on occasion.

A few weeks back I told the world I was going to attempt it. I got overwhelming positive support, which then turned up the pressure to get it done. Well, it took me nearly an hour to choose a topic, so the whole thing ended up taking closer to two, but it went over great. I think it was partly the fact that the topic was compelling and partly that it wasn’t overworked. That leads me to the first “write a blog post in an hour” tip.

Keep a Stash of Blog Post Topics

Nothing clears all good ideas out of a person’s head faster that this thought: “I have to write something, now!” So, don’t do that to yourself. During the week, you are sure to come across ideas that really speak to you, questions you know you …

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Do I really need a website, or can I get by on social media alone? via @scalablesocial

Five Reasons Social Media Won’t Replace Your Website

Here’s a question I see over and over in one form or another – “Do I really need a website? Can’t I reach just as many people – if not more, with social media?” After all, websites can be expensive and difficult to maintain for the average business owner.

I blame social media professionals for this misunderstanding (yes, I see the irony). In our enthusiasm to encourage people to embrace social media, we may have given the impression that social media is ALL you need. Truth is, it’s not. Here are five reasons why you can’t rely on social media to do the job of a website.

It Can All Go Away

If you look at my blog post, “How to Recover Your Facebook Business Page from Rogue or Clueless Employees,” and scroll down to the comments, you’ll see some sad stories. People who spend years and thousands of dollars to prop up their Facebook page, only to lose it when an employee or agency went bad, or when they broke Facebook’s rules and got shut down. That …

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